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The Baron Method: Never say diet!

CONSUMERLINE - Ching M. Alano (The Philippine Star) - March 24, 2015 - 12:00am

D-I-E-T — this lean, four-letter word is surely loaded with meaning.  To a lot of people, it means losing weight (often by depriving or starving oneself).  Now comes a diet where you can eat a lot more, lose weight, and add life to your years. Of course, I’m talking about the Baron Method that people are talking about. Actually, this is my second time to meet the Baron — that is, Harvie De Baron, the man behind the Baron Method, which can be summed up in these absorbing words: “Eat more, live great.”

This lunchtime at the ever-bustling kitchen of the Valle Verde Clubhouse, we get to chew on (literally now) what the Baron Method is all about.  Harvie, looking really great but sweaty (well, they say success is sweat), meets us at the door. His pregnant wife Eizza is even more gorgeous than the last time we saw her. Even with the baby bump, the fit and fab Eizza looks enviably trim. Today, this former beauty queen (Miss Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International) is queen of the kitchen as she demonstrates to media guests how to whip up some really healthy but really delicious recipes.

“The big misconception about healthy food is it’s not yummy,” Harvie shares. “The reason we’re cooking in front of you is to show it’s not impossible to make your own healthy food and it’s very possible for you to have healthy and yummy at the same time.”

First off, Eizza arouses our lethargic taste  buds with oatscaldo — it’s arroz caldo that doesn’t use rice but oats. Now, this you oat to see (and try)!  Eizza gets a cup of rolled oats — not instant — and two cups of homemade chicken stock. Yes, you can make your own chicken stock using chicken placed in a large caldero and boiled in water, spring onions, carrots, garlic, and later sprinkled with a little bit of salt and pepper.

“You can put this in the freezer and unfreeze it everytime you use it,” Harvie gives this precious tip. “Cooking from scratch requires a little more work, but it’s worth it because the body is not built to take fake food. When we take something that’s processed, the body doesn’t know how to deal with it.”

To which Eizza adds, “We’re proponents of making everything from scratch. In our household, we allow patis in small quantity, but we make sure the patis we buy is just anchovies and water. If you look at the grocery aisle, even the soy sauce you’re buying has dyes, flavoring, sometimes even MSG. So, you have to read the label.”

Harvie passes around a bottle of organic soy sauce — yes, you can buy this in the supermarket, just look around. And then we examine a bottle of organic ketchup.

We ask Harvie, “Why buy organic?” He throws the question back, “Why not? Is it okay for you to have hormones, pesticides, fake ingredients in your body?”

We instantly reply with a collective shake of our heads.

In the Barons’ growing, happy household, almost everything is made from scratch. They even make their own garlic. Harvie admits he’s borderline anal about the kind of cooking oil he uses. “We do not use processed oil; instead, we use culinary cooking oil, which means it’s second pressed coconut oil — when you open it, you can still smell the coconut. We also use cassava flour, which means it’s gluten-free (for those allergic to gluten).”

You won’t find any junk foods in the Baron pantry or ref.  “People are saying we’re depriving our children because they’re not allowed to eat ice cream or candy,” Eizza relates. “Yes, we’re depriving our children — we’re depriving them of a life of diabetes, hypertension, disease. We were raised on junk food because our parents probably didn’t know any better. Now that we’re parents ourselves, we have the chance to change all that.”

Note that the Barons do make their own deliciously healthy ice cream and even chips at home. So, who says their kids are deprived?

“We do have cheat days (in our program and at home),” Harvie points out. “But everytime I’d have a cheat day, I’d literally feel so sick and so bad.”

Harvie confesses, “On cheat days, we’d have burgers, onion rings, fries. I like my tocino, tapa, longganisa, I can’t live without those, so we make our own versions at home.”

“My husband expects me to be a magician,” says the expectant mom.

 

 

Expect a lot of delicious surprises from the Baron kitchen that’s constantly humming with activity. The Baron recipes are a painstaking labor of love for the couple. “It took six months to get these dishes on the plate,” Harvie asserts. “Like, when we started, it wasn’t easy coming up with brown rice that was as soft as white rice, it was a major issue in our house.”

This lunchtime, the Baron kitchen dazzles our taste buds with oatscaldo, the Baron Fried Chicken (BFC) rolled in cassava flour and milk (and other tightly-guarded secret ingredients), onion rings, really succulent, fall-off-the-bone smokey barbecue ribs, and the berry refreshingly summery mangoberry yogurt pops.

While enjoying our pops, we listen to a little pep talk from Matec Villanueva, chairman/CEO of Publicis Manila and single mom to three boys, who shares her journey to a healthy lifestyle. At 56, Matec has the energy of a 20-year-old.  “My first two sons are autistic so I intend to live forever. You’re all invited to my 100th birthday in Coron,” goes Matec’s mischievous banter.

Matec learned about the Baron Method through her son’s coach Archie Lim. “I was thin but realized it did not necessarily equate to being healthy and fit,” she admits. “Even before I met Harvie, I was a gym rat, a cardio queen spending two hours a day working out. I was taking a low-carb diet, weighed 116 pounds, and was a size 0. But my friends were telling me, ‘Your face is so dry, tuyung-tuyo, and you’re so gaunt.’ But I did not mind them because as a baby boomer, I was a fan of Twiggy (the reed-thin model back in the ’60s). I asked Harvie if I was doing it right and I panicked when he said that by starving myself, my face would look even older.”

That triggered the panic button for Matec. She relates, “Harvie explained to me that as one ages, the bones will naturally get brittle and the only way one could really protect one’s bones was to have strong muscles. But even the muscles shrink and weaken as a natural part of aging. So, in order to slow down aging, I had to eat clean, eat well that supports my regimen  of building lean mass.”

Happily, Matec found the Baron Method a perfect fit for her lifestyle. “I don’t go hungry. I stay fit, I stay healthy. And I am able to continue with my exercise regimen. I think the Baron Method helps people who want to shift to a healthier lifestyle. Health and wellness are the true objectives and losing weight is merely a happy consequence.”

Ever faithful to the Baron Method, Matec prepares all her meals at home, even her snacks. “I find that by doing so, my level of commitment to the lifestyle shift is 100 percent. Among my favorite Baron Method recipes are cauli rice, chicken longganisa, and the other chicken recipes.”

Juggling the demands of being super mom and being at the top of the corporate ladder, Matec has stayed in top form, thanks to the Baron Method. “I know that by eating clean, eating well, and exercising regularly, my body’s immune system will be naturally fortified. And a strong immune system is the only sure-fire defense against the adverse effects of stress on one’s health.”

FYI, in case you didn’t know, Harvie holds a diploma in sports nutrition from Oxford College with high distinction. He’s been there, having waged a bruising battle with the bulge himself. He created the Baron Method after a bout with ulcerative colitis, which is caused by poor diet, stress, and an unhealthy lifestyle. He packed on the pounds from his steroid-based treatments, which led him to do his own research on how to get well by using natural methods and food as medicine. He lost about 60 unwanted pounds, gained back his self-confidence, and followed his passion — to join a triathlon race.

“Don’t look at it like a race,” Matec tells us. “You start it and you just keep going.”

We imbibe those words of wisdom as we go for a second round of healthy food in this afternoon’s eating marathon.

* * *

For more information, visit www. baronmethod.com.

HEALTHY, YUMMY RECIPE FROM THE BARON KITCHEN

OATSCALDO

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups water or homemade chicken stock

2 pieces chicken breast fillet, shredded

1 small white onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt

Toppings:

2 stalks celery, chopped

bunch of spring onions, chopped

1 head of garlic, chopped

2 to 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

kasuba or kasubha (local saffron threads)
In a pan brushed with culinary coconut oil, toast garlic (toppings), remove from pan, then set aside. In the same pan, sauté onions and chicken until cooked. Add rolled oats and water, then let them simmer. Add salt and pepper, then let oats thicken. In a bowl, scoop oats, top with chopped celery, spring onions, garlic, hard-boiled eggs and kasuba. Serve hot.

 

BARON BARON METHOD CHICKEN EIZZA HARVIE LIFESTYLE MATEC METHOD
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